“What the hell is this?” Aixa was distrustful of police to begin with, but this was just blatantly wrong. The fact that they’d let her—a known black market dealer—see it only revealed their desperation. It didn’t make her feel good about her prospects of being released. They wouldn’t want her to go spreading rumors.
“I need you to read its mind,” said Detective Bismah Khalila. She was the closest thing Aixa had to a nemesis. The detective never seemed motivated to actually put Aixa away. Reveled in harassing her though. Always kept her on a short leash. Close at hand in case she was ever needed. Which, apparently, now she was.
The android was restrained on a table. It looked inanimate, but Aixa knew better. It was just saving its energy. It was definitely aware of her. Already scheming to use her to escape. “That’s not really how it works,” she said.
“Nonsense. You’re the best mind reader in the province. I have a hundred recordings of you saying just that.” Khalila grinned and adjusted her beret, her hands brushing against her dual shoulder holsters in a suggestion of violence to come.
“That’s just talk; you know how it is. You have to hustle out there. What are you going to do, book me for false advertising?”
The detective’s face was like an ice sculpture. “You are not amusing. You may be the best, but you’re hardly my only option.” She removed one of the slim coilguns from its holster and flipped on the power. Aixa could hear it humming, just begging to be fired. “No one would miss a little technojobber working from a rented basement. Get inside its head or I’ll put a slug in yours.” Her cold face and wild eyes melted into a genuine smile. “Thirty minutes,” she said, and walked out of the windowless interrogation-type room, locking the door behind her.
Aixa stood still. She felt a sweat coming on. She nearly leapt through the ceiling when the android spoke to her.
“I’m no mind reader myself, but I suspect you’re thinking you’d like to escape as much as I would.”
“No offense, but I don’t trust you. I’ve read a lot of minds like yours, seen the shit you dream about. How do I know you’re not going to kill me?”
“You don’t. But you know for a certainty that she will. We don’t have much time. Do exactly as I say and we can both get out of here.”